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Electric Railway Museum Acquires Laboratory 4 Hastings Coach

Electric Railway Museum announces a new arrival to its Coventry site. Laboratory 4, affectionately known as ‘Hastings Coach’, was the first vehicle to run with the Advanced Passenger Train Prototype’s suspension and tilt systems. A former buffet car on the Hastings line, it also had a specially built tilt system hydraulic pack that could be used to test alternative components.

The Advanced Passenger Train Prototype (APT-P) was the first train to successfully implement an active tilt mechanism in passenger service in the UK, increasing speeds significantly on tight rail curves. The most powerful domestic train to have operated in Britain, it set the UK rail speed record of 162.2 mph in December 1979 – a record that stood for 23 years. Electric Railway Museum already houses one of the APT-P’s non-driving power car, number 49006, on loan from the National Railway Museum, as well as HSFV 1 (High Speed Freight Vehicle), which was fundamental in the development of the Advanced Passenger Train project. With Laboratory 4 arriving in Coventry, the trio of historic objects can enable Electric Railway Museum to fully tell the story of the development of high-speed electric rail travel within the UK, as well as the influence the APT project had internationally.

Laboratory 4, (Departmental running number: RDB975386), is a bogie coach built by British Rail in 1958 and withdrawn from service as a buffet car in 1963-4. For 10 years it was used as a paint store before seeing a new life as a suspension test vehicle for the APT-P project, when it was transferred to British Rail’s R&D Division in 1974. After its work on the APT project was complete, Laboratory 4 was converted during 1988-89 to a test vehicle for an active air vertical suspension, and further developed into an air tilt system, but these projects did not continue further.

Laboratory 4 was sold to the Advanced Passenger Train Experimental (APT-E) Conservation & Support Group on 22nd April 2011 and has now moved to Electric Railway Museum. Current plans will see repairs made to a corroded side of the vehicle and for it to be repainted with the original livery given by the Railway Technical Centre (RTC) in Derby.

Electric Railway Museum
Rowley Road

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